VA green initiative turns parking lot into power plant and shade for our Veterans


Solar car portThe Department of Veterans Affairs Pacific Islands Health Care System (VA PIHCS) installed solar panels on ordinary carports, turning the current parking lot into a power plant–and providing shade for our Veterans at the Guam Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC).

The parking carport canopy includes four separate structures and was designed and built with a deep-pile foundation to withstand typhoon hurricane winds up to 170 miles per hour. This innovative design allowed for construction to take place with minimal disruption of the parking area, maintaining safe access to our Veterans and staff.

“The photovoltaic (PV) system being installed is a 90 kilowatt system.  It will produce approximately 160,000 kilowatt-hour of electricity per year reducing the CBOC electric consumption by about 50 percent annually.  A cost savings of $40,000 per year.” said Mark Fienhold, chief of Facilities Management/Engineering Service.

“VA is constantly looking for ways to save energy.  This ‘green initiative’ will greatly reduce our energy usage for the clinic and decrease VA’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions by more than 100 metric tons per year.”

Parking lot PV systems provide a significant opportunity for VA, because many facilities are built in congested areas that do not have excess land that can be used for a solar farm.  Installing solar canopies over parking lots provides a dual use for the space, producing electricity on existing parking areas.

VA PIHCS already has PV systems on two buildings at its facility in Honolulu.  Plans call for installing carport type systems in American Samoa and at the Community Living Center (CLC) parking at Tripler Army Medical Center campus on Oahu.

VA PIHCS is committed to providing timely access to a broad range of medical care services, serving an estimated 50,000 Veterans throughout Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.

RohlfsAbout the Author: Amy Rohlfs is the Public Affairs Officer for the Pacific Islands Health Care System.


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  1. Jamie Hendrick    

    We have that at VA Med Ctr in OKC

  2. Peedee Wyre    

    The parking areas at Martinez CA clinic-complex have had these panels, as well as several rooftops. They also installed in-ground heat pump/HVAC technology.
    Whatever it cost, it reduces pollution AND keeps the vehicles from overheating AND provides a dry/ shaded walkway for us: win-win-win.

  3. Chris Smith    

    It saves $40,000 per year. But the article doesn’t say what the total project cost was.

    1. Charles L Berg    

      Nor was there a corresponding reduction in operating budget

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